Putin on the prowl in Siberia
Striding through grassy fields in an Indiana Jones-style hat, climbing trees in leopard country -- just another day in an increasingly adventurous summer for Russia's strongman Vladimir Putin.
The prime minister, who in the last days alone has dived in a mini-submarine to the floor of the world's deepest lake and attached a transmitter to a whale, was this time visiting the remote Russian region of Tuva in southern Siberia.
Putin, dressed in a green fatigues, camped out overnight, rafted down the region's fast flowing rivers and visited a traditional farmstead, Russian news agencies said.
Pictures taken by his press entourage show him striding through savannah-like fields in ankle-high boots and a hat reminiscent of the Hollywood action hero Indiana Jones.
In another image, Putin was shown nestled on the thick branch of a tree, surveying the scene around with quiet authority.
A pose, in fact, that appeared to imitate the fabled snow leopard, one the region's most endangered species.
Russian news agencies described the day's activities as a "holiday" for the premier, although it was clearly aimed at reinforcing his tough-guy image that plays so well at home.
None of the pictures, however, showed Putin in any state of undress, unlike a famous set of images from a past holiday that showed him fishing in Siberia with an impressively muscled naked torso.
Tuva is one of Russia's most remote and exotic regions, populated by a Turkic people famous worldwide for their astonishing throat-singing.
The holiday was as brief as it was dramatic and by the afternoon Putin was seen at working meeting on agriculture in central Russia. On Thursday, he is due to make an official visit to Turkey.